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Thread: OpenSource Map Vector Data

  1. #1
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    OpenSource Map Vector Data

    I was wondering if there is any interest in developing a database that can provide vector data for mapping and routing. I know a lot of projects have involved using a third party SDK like destinator, but with so many people looking for a good data source, why has nobody started working on a free solution? The tiger data is free and makes a good source for creating a database. It is not only of interest to me for a car PC but for my linux computers as well and my Zaurus Pocket PC.

    I have started on some basic tests and it seems to me that it is very doable. I am using Gigabase 3.30 for database software along with the tiger data for my home state of Ohio. Gigabase stores its' database in a single file which is nice, and it is not a pain to set up like the big database softwares. Also, it will compile on both Linux and Windows (I have tried it with Mingw, but there is some make data for VC++).
    All the roads in Ohio resulted in a 267 MB file containing roughly 1,000,000 line segments. I was careless with the size so I am confident that it shrunk to a large degree with minimal effort. I followed this with a spatial test query and was able to retrieve over 1000 records in fractions of a second (I did not officially time it). I am next interested in trying out sqlite. It is also crossplatform, keeps databases in a single file, is small, and easy to use. It does not support spatial queries but that can be worked around.

    If anyone has interest in this type of project, reply and let me know.

  2. #2
    Maximum Bitrate Change's Avatar
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    Downside to the Tiger data is that it lacks data on whether a road is one-way or not.

  3. #3
    FLAC NiN^_^NiN's Avatar
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    Hmm i thought tiger data showed 1 way roads but didn't show you which way it was?

    I really need to find some software for me to make some maps that can be made routeable as i'd like to make a map of NZ.

    Few carpc guys in NZ who have no GPS option at all unless they buy a garmin GPS to route with the handheld.

    Do you guys know of software of how to actually make the maps?
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    Constant Bitrate RX7FDTT's Avatar
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    The thing to do is, to get eveybody to log their GPS Data, and then start building a database of the routes, kind of like SETI@Home to piece together a map, the issue comes in maintianing it, and naming all the roads...

  5. #5
    Raw Wave rando's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Change
    Downside to the Tiger data is that it lacks data on whether a road is one-way or not.
    It's also missing Z-order information to allow you to distinguish over/under passes from intersections.

  6. #6
    Variable Bitrate AlienEclipse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NiN^_^NiN
    Hmm i thought tiger data showed 1 way roads but didn't show you which way it was?

    I really need to find some software for me to make some maps that can be made routeable as i'd like to make a map of NZ.

    Few carpc guys in NZ who have no GPS option at all unless they buy a garmin GPS to route with the handheld.

    Do you guys know of software of how to actually make the maps?
    I'm from NZ and having been doing a little research into GPS maps of NZ. I know there are 1 or 2 but they are proprietary for use with truck/courier tracking systems. The only NZ company that has NZ fully mapped is http://www.tumonz.co.nz/ . I'm not sure if they have vector street maps with all relevant detail.

    I'm willing to do what i can to support this project, as NZ really needs something.
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  7. #7
    Registered User mpattonm's Avatar
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    I will be glad to help in project going as long as its intention is to develop free (or better to say open source) navigation software. I can take over the GUI part.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by rando
    It's also missing Z-order information to allow you to distinguish over/under passes from intersections.
    I believe the CFCC data can be used to figure this out. However the one-way street problem is a little more difficult.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mpattonm
    I will be glad to help in project going as long as its intention is to develop free (or better to say open source) navigation software. I can take over the GUI part.
    I would plan to only release software under the GPL or something very similar.

    Getting others to write GUI's that interface with the database is probably the easy part. There are already a number of examples of this. My main goal is to get poeple to stop using the following solutions and use a common one:
    -Tiger files (they are big and not good for query type work). In general users will have to limit themselves to small amounts of data, like one or two counties.
    -Shapefiles. They are all around better than Tiger data but you are still limited to manually loading files of interest.
    - Navteq or other proprietary database. Everyone has been begging for companies to distribute these databases for awhile. It is ridiculous that I can buy Rand Mcnally software which uses Navteq for under $20, but if I want to be able to make my own software, Navteq is unwilling to even sell the database. Maybe they are trying to guarantee there commercial buyers that they are not going to promote outside competition, or maybe they think that selling the database directly to end users will result in it being pirated. The best we have so far is the expensive and Window's only Destinator SDK. Either way, I have gotten tired of waiting for an affordable database solution to be provided.

    The hard part is providing a good database and releasing it in stages that do not constantly break compatibility with frontends. My limited testing has at least convinced me that products like Gigabase or Sqlite will provide good backends to store and serve the data quickly and efficiently. The other hard part is developing cooperation among the many GUI programmers to decide upon how to structure this database so that it can meet their requirements and actually be used in their frontends.

  10. #10
    Raw Wave god_of_cpu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by s003apr
    - Navteq or other proprietary database. Everyone has been begging for companies to distribute these databases for awhile. It is ridiculous that I can buy Rand Mcnally software which uses Navteq for under $20, but if I want to be able to make my own software, Navteq is unwilling to even sell the database.
    Navteq is perfectly willing to sell you the data, they are not a retail outlet though so you have buy in quantity. Saying that its ridculous that Navteq doesn't sell to end consumers is the same as saying its ridculous that intel won't directly sell you a single processor. Yeah I'm sure all distributors would love to sell directly to consumers, however, when you do that you take half the buisiness away from your resellers with the people who prefer cheapness over convienience. Your resellers then go out of buisiness cause half thier customers are gone so you then lose your resellers and half of your business cause most people don't want to deal with buying raw data and figuring out how to make it work.

    You can't just give away map data, its expensive to make and expensive to maintain. Unless the goverment releases data good for navigation, you will always have to pay for good up to date map data.
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